Being a good father can be difficult when you no longer have a relationship with the children’s mother. However, it is important for your children that you make the effort. According to Fatherly, children with engaged fathers tend to get along better with peers, excel in school and avoid risky behaviors.
Even if you only have limited time with your children, you can still take steps to solidify the relationship. Here are some ideas to help you do better at the most difficult and rewarding job you will ever have.
1. Fight for your rights
Establish the legal paternity of your children if you have not done so already. This gives you the right to negotiate matters related to child custody and visitation. In other words, it can help you spend more time with your children.
If you and the mother of your children were married at the time of their births, this step is not necessary. The law already presumes you are the father and recognizes the legal relationship between you and your children.
2. Start early
In the past, it was common to keep fathers at a distance while the children were babies. The belief was that the “job” of the father did not really begin until the children were old enough to walk. However, studies show behavioral, emotional, cognitive and social benefits to infants whose fathers take an active role in caring for them from birth.
3. Emphasize quality over quantity
There may be limits on the time you can spend with your children, especially if you work long hours or live far away. However, you can make the most of the time that you do spend with your children by providing plenty of attention, warmth and encouragement whenever you interact with them and avoiding negativity or belittlement.